Chavez to automakers: Share the wealth, or else
posted at 11:00 am on December 26, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Hugo Chavez takes yet another step towards turning Venezuela into Baja Cuba with a warning to foreign automakers manufacturing vehicles in his country. Chavez told Ford, GM, Toyota, and Fiat to share their technology with domestic automakers or get out of Caracas altogether (via QandO):
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has told car companies they must share their technology with local businesses or leave the country.
Mr Chavez gave the ultimatum to Toyota, Ford, General Motors and Fiat during a public address.
If the demand isn’t met, he said: “I invite you to pack up your belongings and leave. I’ll bring in the Russians, the Belorusians, the Chinese.”
Chavez had a message especially for Toyota to add:
Mr Chavez attacked Toyota in particular, saying it was not producing enough four-wheel drive vehicles, which are used for public transport, and ordered an investigation.
I wonder how Chavez’ buddies in Hollywood would like that? Chavez is unhappy that Toyota doesn’t produce enough gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting 4WD vehicles. That doesn’t exactly square with his demands at Copenhagen that the major industrial powers kneecap their own economies by cutting back on carbon emissions, does it?
Well, actually, it’s entirely consistent, once one realizes that Chavez doesn’t give a damn about greenhouse gases and the environment. Chavez saw Copenhagen and AGW in the same way most of the Third World dictatorships did — as a means to leverage Western post-colonialist guilt into a massive redistribution shakedown scheme. The Caudillo of Caracas sees the foreign automakers building cars in Venezuela in the same way. He wants to force the four global manufacturers to transfer their skills to his own people for no compensation, then nationalize the industry the same way Chavez did with the oil industry.
Unfortunately for Venezuelans, the result will be the same as Chavez’ previous nationalizations. The four automakers will eventually leave Venezuela, and perhaps be replaced by Russian and Chinese automakers — although Russia and China may not be all that keen to work under a confiscatory regime, either. The quality of autos will drop, because after all, people who have the opportunity and means to buy Toyotas, Fords, and Fiats rarely choose Russian or Chinese cars for a reason.
Venezuelan misery will continue as long as Chavez continues his path to national destruction through Castro-style socialism. Every move Chavez makes is entirely consistent with that one goal.